Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Hideous and Depraved People Pulling The Strings of the World: An interview with Occult Horror Conspiracy Author Athanasios

Today, I'm talking with Athanasios about his new occult horror conspiracy novel,  Commitment. This is the second in his Predatory Ethics series that started with Mad Gods. The entire series is a rather dark occult horror conspiracy saga (appropriate for Halloween, I suppose), a sort of Clive Barker meets Umberto Eco.


1) Tell us about your book.

Commitment follows up where Mad Gods left off.

Adam watched Mad Gods drag his father to Hell. He now fends for himself, alone and troubled by horrific tributes from worshipers who want Hell's favour.

Melusine Rothschild, the Constant Widow and Grande Dame of the Black Nobility wants to raise him.

The Constant Widow is part of the World Elite that live by Predatory Ethics and seek to guide him in wielding the power and influence of his dark birthright.

Adam, the teenage Antichrist/AntiXos, wants none of this. Mentally fractured, and emotionally broken he watches his TV shows in one of Danvers Mental Hospital's nice padded rooms, snugly dressed in his own long sleeved, buckled, canvas jacket. He feels safe here away from a hostile, ravaging outside world.

He's horribly wrong.

2) This is the second in the series. What inspired this series?

The title itself is a play on words in that it's used as the commitment most everyone in the story puts into their beliefs and the main character's literal commitment into an insane asylum.

Predatory Ethics was originally inspired by a long held interest in religion and the battle of good vs. evil. Most of us have that to mean God vs. Satan, but it has been many different adversaries over time, and even in our own cultures and modern age we have a variety of representatives for each faction.

I've always been fascinated with interpretations of good and evil and even the many permutations. I've discovered that you can have both without the warring of the two sides Judeo-Christian theology espouses. I intend on exploring every form these polar opposites have occupied and use Predatory Ethics to illustrate it.

3) This is a pretty plot-filled little tome. Can people step into the series with this book or is reading the first book required?

They can jump into it straight away. Conspiracy has it's own momentum and unique plot points that are only enhanced if they read Mad Gods. You don't need Mad Gods, but Commitment is so much livelier and rich with the back stories I start in Mad Gods.

4) This book is focused rather tightly on the early and mid-70s. In many ways, though it gives it a definite atmosphere, it doesn't necessarily seem that the central plot required it to be set in those particular years. Why did you choose that time period?

The key character in Mad Gods was the Antichrist/AntiXos. In my research I discovered some conspiracy theories that a possible time of his birth was February, 1962. This is pretty close to my own November, 1964 so I decided to have his life parallel my own in what was going on in the world at that time. It also grounded Adam's experiences in reality and made the story that much more believable. I drew and will continue to draw upon my own recollections of news stories, television, movies and popular culture during the 1970s and as Adam grows up into the 1980s, 1990s and so on.

5) This book involves a fairly dense mythology of conspiracies and religious groups. You added your own dense layer of supernatural conspiracy top of that. What kind of research went into this and how did you decide what to keep and what to toss when considering the various competing conspiracy theories about some of the different groups you mention?

The myths mentioned came and went on whim and what felt right for me from the bewildering variety of conspiracies that are easily found all over the web. I decided to use the ones that were more cool- sounding and feeling to me. I can't give you a better explanation than the choices I made about religious groups and supernatural alliances were based on their individual depth and richness of backstory in world history and public consciousness. The Templars and Freemasons have long been rich fodder for fiction, and I've given them my own spin in that they're not only the Catholic Church's secret enforcers, but they're also affiliated with the Luciferian Church the complete opposite of their Catholic masters.

I've included the Dark and Black Nobility because a lot of fringe groups and conspiracy theorists purport them to be the ruling elite of our world and have been linked them to demons and demon worship, the premiere of said demons being Adam's true father: Satan.

The choices I've made were in direct part because, as far as I can tell all of them are interconnected whether it is that they're each other's opposites or were once affiliated. One new group I've debuted in Commitment is the Final Reich. A militant order based on the Aryan version of the Templars the Teutons.

6) This is a rather dark book filled with, to be frank, many despicable characters who are given a lot of POV focus including serial killers and demons. Indeed, some are evil in the pure sense of the word. Even Adam, the focus of the plot attention and the obvious protagonist for the overall series, though a bit easier to sympathize with given his more conventional morality in contrast to the horrific people and entities featured in much of the book, is a complicated character wounded with psychosis. Did you ever worry that the large cast of characters and the dark POVs might alienate some readers?

Yeah I did when the story came out, but I'm giving readers the benefit of the doubt that they won't turn away from a difficult situation because it's uncomfortable. I wouldn't stop being attracted to an emotionally wrenching story or dealing with unsympathetic characters. I don't consider them totally unsympathetic I think they're all VERY complex and are presented as dark figures who show why they're that way and quite a few do have redeeming qualities.

One of my favourite songs is the Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil because you get an idea of how this personification of evil seeks to explain that he is more than the Halloween creature we're used to.

7) You've made some interesting stylistic choices throughout. One that struck me was the use of a third person with most POVs, but first-person with Adam. Why did you decide employ POV that way?
You stated that most of Commitment is written in third person as opposed to Adam being one of the only first person characters, and I did that to show his own skewed reality. He is not only different than everybody else because of who he is but is also healing his sanity throughout the story.

8) With so much going on, I'm doubtful this story line will be wrapped up in one book. How many more books do you have planned?

Predatory Ethics is slated to keep going on until I have no more religions for Adam to deal with. He will be beset by every major religion and a few I'll be resurrecting or creating myself. I'm planning out the sequel already where the Pagans and Final Reichians will continue with their own agendas and Adam will deal with his destined place as the Eternal Consort of the Triple Goddess. Its working title so far is In Who To Trust. Adam will be looking to see who he should be trusting and how far that trust should go with everybody still wanting him to be their champion.


Thanks, Athanasios.

You can find Mad Gods and Commitment at Amazon.


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